things to do in east sussex

Last Updated on: 29th May 2024, 04:32 am

Welcome to East Sussex, a stunning region in the south of England that offers a wide range of tourist attractions, activities, and places to visit. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, East Sussex has something for everyone. Embark on a journey of exploration and discover the many things to do in this captivating destination.

When it comes to tourist attractions, East Sussex boasts a plethora of options. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the region by visiting iconic sites such as the historic Battle Abbey or the magnificent Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Explore the medieval ruins of Lewes Castle or wander through the picturesque gardens of Pashley Manor. East Sussex is a treasure trove of cultural and historical gems waiting to be discovered.

Things to Do in East Sussex

Outdoor Activities in East Sussex

East Sussex offers a plethora of outdoor adventures for adrenaline-seeking enthusiasts and family fun-seekers alike. With its stunning coastline along the South Downs National Park, there are endless possibilities for thrilling experiences and breathtaking sights.

outdoor adventures east sussex

If you’re a fan of adventure boat trips, embark on an exhilarating journey along the coast. Feel the rush as the wind caresses your face, and the waves splash beneath you. These boat trips provide an up-close encounter with the natural beauty of East Sussex, allowing you to witness the magnificence of the South Downs from a unique perspective.

For those seeking more action-packed activities, head to Camber Sands for an adrenaline-fueled watersports extravaganza. Try your hand at windsurfing, kitesurfing, or paddleboarding, and feel the thrill of gliding across the waves. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there are options for every skill level, ensuring an exciting and memorable experience for all.

East Sussex is also home to a variety of family-friendly attractions. Brighton beach offers a range of beach sports activities, perfect for a day of fun in the sun. Engage in a friendly game of volleyball, build sandcastles, or simply relax under the warm rays of the British sunshine. The beach atmosphere is lively and inviting, creating lasting memories for families.

If wildlife spotting is more your style, Hastings Country Park is a must-visit destination. Explore the picturesque nature reserve and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. From rare birds to beautiful wildflowers, this tranquil setting provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Outdoor Adventures in East Sussex – Highlights:

  1. Adrenaline-filled adventure boat trips along the stunning coastline of the South Downs National Park.
  2. Action-packed watersports at Camber Sands, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding.
  3. Family-friendly beach sports activities on Brighton Beach.
  4. Wildlife spotting and nature walks at Hastings Country Park.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or a day of family-friendly fun, East Sussex has an array of outdoor adventures and attractions to suit every taste and preference. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this captivating region and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

Historic Sites in East Sussex

East Sussex is steeped in history and offers a wealth of historic sites to explore. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the past, there are numerous places to visit that bring the region’s fascinating history to life.

1. The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Embark on a journey through time with a visit to the iconic Royal Pavilion in Brighton. This extraordinary palace, once a seaside retreat for George IV, showcases stunning Indian architecture and extravagant interiors. Marvel at the opulent Banqueting Room and the impressive Great Kitchen as you immerse yourself in the grandeur of this unique historic site.

historic sites east sussex

2. Battle Abbey, Battle

Step back in time to the year 1066 at Battle Abbey, the site of the famous Battle of Hastings. Explore the atmospheric ruins and discover the stories behind this pivotal event in English history. Stand on the very spot where Harold fell and William the Conqueror claimed the throne. The onsite audio tour provides an engaging and immersive experience, bringing history to life for visitors of all ages.

3. Pashley Manor, Ticehurst

Indulge in the charm of a quintessential English garden at Pashley Manor. This beautiful Elizabethan manor house is surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens, bursting with vibrant colors and delightful scents. Take a leisurely stroll through the stunning rose gardens, discover hidden pathways, and find a quiet spot to relax and soak up the tranquil ambiance of this hidden gem.

4. Lewes Castle, Lewes

Explore the medieval ruins of Lewes Castle, a historic landmark that dates back to the 11th century. Climb to the top of the keep and enjoy panoramic views of the picturesque town of Lewes and the surrounding countryside. Learn about the castle’s rich history through informative displays and exhibitions, and don’t forget to visit the Barbican House Museum to uncover the fascinating stories of the castle and its inhabitants.

Many of these historic sites in East Sussex offer free entry, making them perfect for budget-conscious travelers. Immerse yourself in the region’s captivating history and embark on a journey of discovery through time.

Hidden Gems in East Sussex

East Sussex is home to a number of hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. These secret places offer unique experiences and add an element of surprise to your visit. From quiet coastal spots to atmospheric neighborhoods, East Sussex has a lot to offer beyond the well-known tourist attractions. Take a look at some of the hidden gems below:

1. Eastbourne’s Pretty Italian Gardens

Uncover the secret coastal spots of Eastbourne’s pretty Italian Gardens. This hidden gem is a tranquil oasis filled with beautiful flowers, fountains, and sculptures. Enjoy outdoor Shakespeare performances in this picturesque setting or spend a leisurely afternoon rock pooling with your family. The Italian Gardens offer a peaceful retreat away from the bustling crowds, perfect for a relaxing day out.

2. The Atmospheric Lanes and North Laine in Brighton

Explore the atmospheric Lanes and North Laine in Brighton. These neighborhoods are filled with unique shops, art galleries, and cafes, offering a vibrant and eclectic mix of experiences. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets and discover hidden boutiques, antique shops, and quirky cafes. The Lanes and North Laine are a treasure trove of independent businesses and local craftsmanship, providing a distinct and alternative shopping experience.

“The Lanes and North Laine in Brighton offer a vibrant and eclectic mix of experiences.”

3. Ghostly Brighton

Don’t miss the ghostly side of Brighton, known as one of the most haunted places in England. Take a guided ghost walk through the city’s dark alleys and hear chilling tales of the supernatural. Discover the hidden history and spine-tingling stories that lurk behind Brighton’s iconic landmarks. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, exploring the ghostly side of Brighton is sure to give you an unforgettable and eerie experience.

Hidden Gems Location
Eastbourne’s Pretty Italian Gardens Eastbourne
The Atmospheric Lanes and North Laine Brighton
Ghostly Brighton Brighton

4. More Hidden Gems

These are just a few examples of the hidden gems waiting to be discovered in East Sussex. There are many more secret places, tucked away in villages, coastal areas, and countryside landscapes. Delve into the lesser-known attractions and explore the hidden gems of East Sussex for a truly unique and memorable experience.

Hidden Gems Location
St. Leonard’s Gardens St. Leonards-on-Sea
Charleston Farmhouse Firle
Cuckmere Valley Seaford

Plan your trip to East Sussex and uncover these hidden gems. By exploring the lesser-known attractions, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s beauty and charm.

Family-Friendly Activities in East Sussex

When it comes to keeping kids entertained, East Sussex has an abundance of family-friendly activities that are sure to please every member of the family. From exciting wildlife adventures to interactive exhibits, there’s something for children of all ages to enjoy. So, if you’re planning a family getaway, make sure to check out these top attractions:

1. SEA LIFE Brighton Aquarium

things to do in east sussex with kids

Explore the wonders of the ocean at the SEA LIFE Brighton Aquarium. Let your little ones marvel at the incredible marine life, from colorful tropical fish to majestic sharks. With interactive displays and feeding sessions, this aquarium offers an educational and exciting experience for the whole family.

2. Drusillas Park

For a fun-filled day of wildlife adventures, head to Drusillas Park. This popular wildlife park is home to a wide variety of animals, including meerkats, penguins, and lemurs. Enjoy the exciting rides, meet your favorite characters at the Hello Kitty Secret Garden, and have a splash in the water play area. Drusillas Park is guaranteed to create lasting memories for the whole family.

3. Hove Museum & Art Gallery

Step into a world of creativity and imagination at Hove Museum & Art Gallery. Explore the interactive exhibits and discover the fascinating history of Brighton and Hove. From vintage toys to contemporary artwork, there’s something to captivate every young mind. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens surrounding the museum, perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

4. Victorian Electric Railway

Take a step back in time and hop aboard the Victorian Electric Railway in Brighton & Hove. This vintage train ride offers a scenic journey along the coastline and provides a unique perspective of the stunning surroundings. Kids will love the excitement of riding on a historic train, making it a memorable experience for the whole family.

With these fantastic family-friendly activities in East Sussex, you can create unforgettable memories with your kids while exploring the beauty and charm of this wonderful region.

Cultural Experiences in East Sussex

Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of East Sussex. The region is teeming with exhibitions, events, and cultural experiences that will delight art enthusiasts and those seeking a taste of the local arts scene.

One of the must-visit attractions is the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, renowned for showcasing a glittering collection of 20th-century art and design. From contemporary masterpieces to thought-provoking installations, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of visual arts.

To further enrich your cultural journey, head to the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. This contemporary art museum features a diverse range of British art and themed installations that challenge traditional perceptions and ignite the imagination.

For those visiting in May, don’t miss the Brighton Festival. This month-long celebration of the arts captivates audiences with a kaleidoscope of performances, music, dance, theater, and visual arts. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative energy and vibrant atmosphere of East Sussex.

East Sussex truly embraces its artistic spirit, offering a wide range of cultural experiences that will leave you inspired. Whether you’re strolling through galleries, attending exhibitions, or enjoying live performances, there’s always something exciting to explore.

With ongoing exhibitions and a calendar filled with events, East Sussex is a hub for arts and culture. Embrace the creative side of this enchanting region and let the exhibitions and events in East Sussex transport you to a world of artistic wonder.


East Sussex offers a wide range of activities, attractions, and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, exploring historic sites, discovering hidden gems, or indulging in family-friendly activities, East Sussex has it all. From the stunning coastline to the vibrant cultural scene, this diverse region has something to offer everyone.

Plan your trip to East Sussex today and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this captivating destination. Uncover the secrets of the hidden coastal spots, delve into the rich history of the historic sites, and create lasting memories with your family. With so much to see and do, East Sussex promises an unforgettable experience.

Embark on thrilling boat trips, wander through medieval ruins, or simply relax on the sandy beaches. Explore the vibrant arts scene, attend exhibitions and events, and indulge in the local culture. East Sussex is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Start planning your East Sussex adventure now and embrace all that this beautiful region has to offer.


What are some of the historical sites to visit in East Sussex?

Some historical sites in East Sussex include the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Battle Abbey in Battle, Pashley Manor in Ticehurst, and Lewes Castle in Lewes.

What outdoor activities can visitors enjoy in East Sussex?

Visitors can experience adventure boat trips along the stunning coastline, try watersports at Camber Sands, engage in beach sports activities on Brighton Beach, and go wildlife spotting at Hastings Country Park.

What are some hidden gems to explore in East Sussex?

Hidden gems in East Sussex include Eastbourne’s Pretty Italian Gardens, the Atmospheric Lanes and North Laine in Brighton, and Ghostly Brighton, among others.

What family-friendly activities are available in East Sussex?

Families can enjoy attractions such as SEA LIFE Brighton Aquarium, Drusillas Park, Hove Museum & Art Gallery, and the Victorian Electric Railway in Brighton & Hove.

What cultural experiences can visitors partake in while in East Sussex?

Cultural experiences in East Sussex include visits to Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, and participation in events like the Brighton Festival.

Are there any free historical sites to visit in East Sussex?

Many historical sites in East Sussex offer free entry, making them perfect for budget-conscious travelers looking to explore the region’s captivating history.

What makes East Sussex a unique and diverse travel destination?

East Sussex offers a wide range of activities, attractions, and experiences, from outdoor adventures and historic sites to hidden gems and family-friendly activities, making it a versatile destination with something for every traveler to enjoy.

Are there any food and drink festivals or events happening in East Sussex?

Yes, East Sussex hosts various food and drink festivals throughout the year, showcasing local produce, culinary delights, and beverages. Check the event calendars for details on specific festivals and events.

Are there any guided tours available for exploring East Sussex?

Yes, visitors can opt for guided tours to explore various attractions in East Sussex. These tours may include historical walks, food tours, nature treks, and sightseeing excursions led by knowledgeable guides.

What transport options are available for getting around East Sussex?

Travelers can use public transportation such as buses and trains to navigate East Sussex. Renting a car is also a popular option for exploring the region at your own pace. Additionally, cycling and walking are great ways to explore the scenic landscapes.

Are there any seasonal events or festivals that visitors should not miss in East Sussex?

Seasonal events in East Sussex include Christmas markets, summer music festivals, spring garden shows, and autumn harvest celebrations, offering unique experiences tied to the changing seasons.

What are some shopping opportunities for visitors in East Sussex?

Visitors can shop for souvenirs, local crafts, antiques, and artisanal goods in charming market towns, vintage shops, independent boutiques, and farmer’s markets scattered throughout East Sussex.